A NEW study has laid bare the devastating impact the last five years of recession have had on the people and communities of rural Kerry.
While the effect of the general economic collapse and the associated surge in unemployment and disadvantage has been easy to track in larger towns and cities the true impact of the recession on rural areas has been much more difficult to gauge.
Now new research carried out by Teagasc for the Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas, which was revealed for the first time earlier this month, presents the first accurate picture of the devastation the recession, and especially the collapse of the building sector, has wrought on rural Kerry and Ireland.
As part of its research for the commission, Teagasc researchers compiled a special report on the impact of the recession in Kerry.
One of this report's main findings is that the level of unemployment in Kerry, while up dramatically across all the entire county, increased by a far steeper margin in rural areas.
According to the Teagasc figures while unemployment in Kerry's urban areas increased by 144 per cent between 2006 and 2011 in rural areas it increased by a staggering 192 per cent.
Though all rural areas suffered badly south Kerry was cushioned to some extent by the tourism industry and Teagasc say the worst affected rural areas are in north Kerry.
In North Kerry the worst affected areas were around Ballylongford, Ballyduff and Lixnaw, Kilflynn, Ballybunion, Moyvane and the Kerry side of the Limerick border close to Abbeyfeale.
South Kerry meanwhile saw its largest jumps in unemployment centred in the areas around Waterville, Sneem and Kilgarvan while in west Kerry, the Castlegregory and Annascaul regions saw the most job losses.